31 May 2019

Reading with a Toddler


For me, books have been a lifelong love, so, it's no surprise that I've been having daily storytime with Cyrus since back in the days when he wasn't yet able to roll over and escape. Pretty normal for any book lover.

Now that he's older, we've adapted and established more routines and he's developed his own fondness for certain books in our collection.

Book Storage: I store his books on a shelf in the spare bedroom that Angel and I use as office space. Cyrus has two shelves on an Ikea bookshelf that are devoted to his books. Most of the time, I keep the office door closed, but when we go in, I let him choose books off of his shelf to read. I keep the board books in the front of the shelf and the paper books in the back, because he can't reach that far back and I want to keep the paper books out of his reach for now. He has learned that these two shelves are for him, and does a good job of staying away from all the rest of the shelves that hold grown-up books.

Language: We have a mix of English, Spanish, and bilingual books. Some of our Spanish books are translations of classic English kids' books, but we also have a few original Spanish storybooks. This has been my major request if any relatives have asked if they can send Cyrus anything--we can't buy Spanish language books in any bookstore here, and online ordering isn't worth the complications that ensue, so the entirety of our Spanish book stash is from America. This is really great, especially for me, with working on his language exposure. Angel speaks more in Spanish with Cyrus, but it doesn't come naturally to me to do narration or random chatting in Spanish (those darn verbs requiring conjugation!), but I can read well in Spanish, so I read aloud. Most of our book collection is courtesy of Cyrus's two sets of grandparents, his aunts, and my aunts. Thanks, family!

Morning Storytime: This is an example of the books we read for morning storytime one day this week. Usually he wants to read books nearly as soon as he wakes up, and then later in the morning we'll read the afternoon, more, and in the evening before bed. So, the books better be good and keep Mom interested! This particular morning we read:
There's a Wocket in My Pocket! three times. Only in the past month or so has Cyrus been more interested in books that are a little longer than simple board books, and I've been introducing more Dr. Seuss books and slightly longer stories. 
First Bible Basics three times. This is one of a series of books, I only have two out of the series, though. Cyrus really enjoys both, and sits through them well.
Eres mi Mama? one time. Don't worry, we definitely read this at least four more times throughout the day. He loves this book, and since he's been better able to sit and listen to longer stories, I've also gotten out the full-length bilingual version that I also have in our collection.
Goodnight Moon one time. This is another one we read often. All of our bilingual books, I read in Spanish, just because Spanish is definitely the language we have less exposure to, so I need to maximize his opportunities to hear it. So this one is always Buenas Noches, Luna for us.

Behavior for Storytime: For actual storytime, I do require Cyrus to sit next to me while he listens, and I've been impressed with how his ability to sit and focus on the story has grown with time. For times when I just want to read something aloud in the background, and I know it's not really a story that he can follow yet, I let him play and I just sit on the couch and read. I have the Storybook Bible in both English and Spanish and it's above his level for now, but I'll read it aloud to us as a family some evenings. I do allow Cyrus to look at board books by himself and we work on learning to turn the pages gently and treat books carefully. He is not yet allowed to page through the paper books on his own--when you have to source your books from the USA, can't take too many risks with baby fingers. ;)

Learning Developments: As far as how Cyrus's experience with books is impacting his language development...I'd say at this point, who even knows? He doesn't talk. However, some of the biggest and clearest milestones he has has with his speaking or showing comprehension of words have come while reading books. He waves goodbye at characters who are saying goodbye. I once found him looking at a book all alone, doing a fake whimpering sort of cry, and then noticed that the characters on the page were crying. I think I laughed so hard that he now "fake cries" every time we get to that page. He tries to say "Moo" when reading books that have cows, tries to say "blue" on the blue page in our books about colors (it sounds like "blulululululu" and cracks me up). So it's very early days yet to see language progress with him, but I look forward to the future!

What are your favorite books for babies and toddlers? I have really enjoyed the "Cozy Classics" series of board books and will buy a few more if I can ever find their "Pride and Prejudice" or "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" or "Les Miserables" and the "Baby Believer" series is a new favorite. Of course, Dr. Seuss is pretty high up there as well. 
AnneMarie said...

Cyrus's reactions to reading time is so cute! I love books, and my toddler is obsessed with books. Some of his current favorites are a Legend of Zelda manga and a science book thing from the 80s that my mom found at a garage sale once. Not the most typical books for a toddler, but he loves them! OH, he also loves classics like Amelia Bedelia and Where the Wild Things Are, so he's not completely deprived of childhood classics ;)

Julianne said...

We have been loving Dr. Seuss as well around here! There are so many more than I ever knew of as a kid. Some of our favorites are Little Blue Truck and The Pout Pout Fish. This is probably a dumb question, but are there good library systems in Malaysia? My oldest is 3.5 now and I’m starting to get weary of reading our home collection - so library day is a favorite day of the week! If you like The Jesus Storybook, The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible is great as well!

Elizabeth said...

We read a lot of the typical classics, as many fit in our suitcase. Definitely Eric Carle. My 2 yr old is just starting to get into the actual narrative. Sandra Boynton has some adorable board books. And there are a lot of cute Golden Books you can still purchase. "Are You My Mother?" seems to be in a collection of others with that Dr. Seuss emblem. A lot of those are pretty great. We have "Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb" which is a fun one. My kids both love a book called "Faster, Faster" and another one called "Thank you Nicky" about a cat. So many great ones out there!

Elizabeth said...

Oh, Richard Scarry will be fun in a few years!

Michelle said...

We did/do a ton of Babylit books, Dr. Seuss, Goodnight Moon, and The Jesus Storybook Bible. We also have The Biggest Story ABC board book, and it is AMAZING.

Carolann @ Finding Ithaka said...

I have been slowly building up our baby girl's book collection. I really enjoyed reading this post because it's making me think about how I want to approach reading when she gets here. I adore reading and books and stories and it's really important for me to pass that onto her.

Brita Long said...

What a wonderful storytime! Cyrus is so lucky to have a bookworm for a mom. "Are You My Mother?" was a family favorite when I was growing up. My mom did different voices for all the characters.

I really like Jan Brett books for kids, although those might be a little complex for Cyrus at this age. Maybe in another 6 months. I gave my nephews both the board book and the regular book (autographed!!!) of The Three Snow Bears for Christmas a few years ago, along with a matching toy. It was a special gift from my husband and me because we have a strong fondness for polar bears!